Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Ed Cushman, an ALS patient from North Carolina, got tickets to the big game with the help of Steve Gleason's foundation, Team Gleason.

By Emily Caron
February 06, 2019

Ed Cushman, a North Carolina native living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), died on Saturday in a car fire while on the way to the Super Bowl after scoring tickets to the game with the help of New Orleans's Team Gleason Foundation.

Cushman, 39, had asked Team Gleason–the foundation founded by former Saints defensive back Steve Gleason, who was diagnosed with the same disease in 2011–for help finding tickets to Super Bowl LIII. Team Gleason helped Cushman find American with Disabilities Act seating.

Cushman's brother, Robert, was driving Ed to the game when their 2007 Dodge Caravan began smoking, according to state patrol officials.

The Georgia State Patrol says that while they were just a few hours outside of Atlanta, a  Robert Cushman got out to examine the vehicle. Once he was out of the car, flames erupted. He tried to rescue Ed , who was in a wheelchair and on a ventilator, but the "flames were too intense."

Rob announced the news on his Facebook account.

"Please be in prayer for our family. We lost my brother, Edward Craig Cushman, in a freak accident while we were driving to Atlanta yesterday," Rob wrote. "While we are devastated, we are happy he is no longer suffering from the pain of ALS."

The Gleason Foundation issued a statement expressing their shock.

“Words cannot express how shocked we are for Ed and his entire family," the Gleason Foundation wrote in a statement. "We remain committed to our ALS community and Ed’s family in this time of incredible sadness.”

The statement continued: “Like so many with ALS, Ed was passionate about living, and he dreamed of going to the Super Bowl. We were honored to have played a small role in helping make that possible for such an amazing man.”

Gleason earned the Congressional Gold Medal earlier this year in honor of his work. The Saints' inspiration became the first former NFL player to receive the award.

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